On Wednesday, an op-ed column written by the late former head coach Joe Paterno in late December and January that defended the Penn State football program and the school in regard to the actions of Jerry Sandusky was published online.
Later, the Paterno family responded via a statement from their spokespeople, McGinn and Company,that addressed some speculation about the origin of the column and the timing of its release.
Paterno, who died on January 22 of lung cancer, defended Penn State as a whole in the column rather than taking a stand for himself.
“…Regardless of anyone's opinion of my actions or the actions of the handful of administration officials in this matter, the fact is nothing alleged is an indictment of football or evidence that the spectacular collections of accomplishments by dedicated student athletes should be in anyway tarnished,” Paterno wrote.
Paterno was removed from his position as head coach on Nov. 9, 2011 by the Board of Trustees several days after child sex abuse charges were filed against Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator. In the column, Paterno goes on to refute claims that Penn State is merely a “football factory,” writing instead that it is “ALREADY a great University.”
Via email, McGinn and Company responded to the column.
“We can confirm that this statement was written by Joe Paterno late last year,” they said in the statement. “It was his intent to have it published as a guest editorial. With the rush of events that never happened. Over the last few months it has been shared with a number of former players. We are assuming one of them released it.”
Those with connections to Penn State football talked about the column after reading it. John Tecce, former Paternoville president, said the column had a clear message.
“I only got to read it once over, but I thought it was strong,” Tecce said. “It didn’t leave a lot of room for interpretation, which I think is a good thing given what happened last November.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.